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Norwalk political notes: Good news, bad news

Members of the new Norwalk Arts Commission are sworn in, July 11 in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s what we have for you in political notes this Tuesday:

  • CDBG tough decisions
  • Long-timer sees a positive shift
  • Closed captioned Council videos

The squeezed out CDBG sponge

It gets tougher every year to allocate Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, Common Council members have said.

This year, there were 18 applications from public service organizations, a total $535,714 in requests. The estimated funding from the federal government is $112,614.

Compare that to 2015, when the Council Planning Committee had to divvy up $187,412 between 19 organizations that had requested a total of $470,770.

“There were some tough decisions that had to be made,” Planning Committee Chairman John Kydes (D-District C) said at the March 1 Committee meeting.

The tentative list:

  • ABCD $25,000
  • Child Guidance Center of Fairfield County $20,000
  • The East Norwalk Library $6,000
  • Higher Education Learning Professionals $11,000
  • Person to Person $25,000
  • Saturday Academy $15,280
  • SAVE (Serving All Vessels Equally) $9,794

 

CDBG funding is divided into categories; the Committee had seven applications requesting $684,797, and $405,723 in expected funding.

The tentative decision:

  • Homefront $15,000
  • Keystone House $8,050
  • The Carver Center $88,485
  • The Norwalk Redevelopment Agency $288,262

 

The expected CDBG funding for planning and administrative activities, $183,180, is slated for the Redevelopment Agency.

A public hearing is planned for April 5.

 

 

Wallerstein: There’s more support for the arts  

“I’d also like to celebrate in my 46 years in Norwalk, in various roles, the good news,” Susan Wallerstein said to the Planning Commission on Feb. 7. “I am experiencing personally a higher level of collaboration and interdepartmental communication and partnership as it relates to the arts than I have ever seen.”

Wallerstein helped found the Arts Commission, which was recently made into an official Norwalk governmental body, and has led it for years.

The new Arts Commission is working with the Historical Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department, and Planning and Zoning reaches out for input on the arts, as well as Norwalk Public Schools.

“At least from the Arts Commission’s perspective there’s a fairly good communication and collaboration,” she said.

 

ADA access for Council videos

Council members have been asked to speak clearly into their microphones so that captions can be added to the videos of the meetings.

Closed captioning began at the Jan. 9 meeting. There’s now a link on the city website for captioned videos; the Jan. 9 version has had 28 views Monday, the Jan. 23 video had 22 views and the Feb. 13 video had 23 views.

None have captions.

“The City set aside funding for the open captioning of Council videos,” Human Relations & Fair Rent Department Director Adam Bovilsky said in an email.  “An RFP went out and two consultants were retained.  The consultants recommended that more cost effective options were available, and we are looking into them now.”

2 comments

Susan Wallerstein March 13, 2018 at 8:15 am

Thanks for reporting the positive along with the rest of the news,, Nancy. Point of clarification/correction: I did not help found the Arts Commission, I simply participated in the transition from advisory to official. Many wonderful folks over the years have contributed to this effort. #livelovenorwalkct

Patrick Cooper March 13, 2018 at 8:51 am

Every time I read “Redevelopment Agency” – I cringe. Almost every single developer give-away and land use mess – starts here. It is time for a “closer look” into this honey pot – I’m quite certain there is much under the covers that Norwalk taxpayers would be interested in. It’s time to ask our Mayor and common council – why is this agency is coated in Teflon?

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